“I did,” Sage admitted.
“Tell me about it.”
Sage stepped back to look at the car. “It’s a beautiful blue, totally smooth on the road. The engine has good pep. It’s easy to handle. And the seats are unbelievably comfortable. The salesman, Cody, says the one I’m looking at has larger wheels and tires. It has a panoramic sunroof.” She didn’t know what else to add.
“It sounds perfect. Let me talk to Cody.”
“This is strange,” Sage said.
Tasha laughed. “For me, it’s fun. And you’re going to love the car.”
“It’s overkill.” Sage experienced a moment of serious hesitation. “Maybe I should look at something used.”
“That’s not going to happen. Give the phone to Cody and stop worrying.”
“Okay.” Sage told herself to accept the inevitable. She handed the phone to Cody.
He greeted Tasha, then paused. “It’s the Heckle V series sedan with the ultra-luxury package.” He paused for another moment. “Yes, she does.” Then he gave Sage a smile and a thumbs-up and turned to walk away, heading into a windowed office.
She shook her head in bemusement and turned her attention back to the car. It really was amazing. She reached in to touch the steering wheel, imagining herself and Eli touring along the coast highway, the sunroof open, Eli smiling and healthy.
Her eyes unexpectedly teared up. She swallowed and slipped into the driver’s seat.
If anything, the seat was even more comfortable than the one in the test car she’d driven. She tipped her head back, seeing the lights suspended from the high ceiling above. The sunroof and windows had a subtle tint, which would be nice in the sun.
“Sage?” Cody interrupted her musings.
She quickly turned. “Hi. Sorry.”
“Not at all. You should get used to the feel. Tasha wants to talk to you.” He handed back Sage’s phone.
“You’re all set,” Tasha said. “I negotiated a great price. They’ll put temporary insurance and registration on for you so you can drive it home. All you have to do is give him your credit card.”
“What?” Sage was dumbfounded. They expected her to drive it away? “What about TJ’s SUV? I can’t just leave it here.”
“We deliver, ma’am,” Cody whispered.
“They’ll deliver the SUV tomorrow,” Tasha said. “You can’t buy a new car and not drive it home.”
“To Whiskey Bay?” Sage asked Cody. Surely they didn’t realize how far away TJ lived.
“Complimentary delivery anywhere in the state,” Cody said. “I’m going to get a technician, and we’ll get your features set up.” He tapped the top of the roof and walked away.
“Are you excited?” Tasha asked.
“I’m stunned. This isn’t how buying a car works.” The last time, it had taken her a month to find something decent in her price range.
“It’s a great car. You made a good choice. The safety rating is super high, and it holds its resale value. TJ can’t wait to see it.”
“You talked to him again? Does he know which one I picked?”
“He doesn’t care what you picked, Sage. You’re the one who’ll be driving it. He wants you to be happy.”
“It’s a difficult adjustment to make.”
“I get it,” Tasha said. “Don’t forget I’m a marine mechanic. Nuts and bolts are my business. And I’m firmly grounded in the real world.”
Sage remembered it had been only a few weeks since Tasha married Matt. “Thanks. That helps.”
“Drive safely,” Tasha said.
“I will.” Sage would be excruciatingly careful with what she knew had to be an exorbitantly expensive car.
TJ had agreed to give Eli minimal details while he was in the hospital. So, on the day he was finally released, a brilliantly sunny Saturday, the three of them drove to TJ’s house, explaining on the way that Sage had been staying with TJ while Eli was in the hospital.
“This place is awesome,” Eli said, skipping along the path that led to the front yard instead of going inside.
“It’s practically a ball diamond,” Eli said, stopping at the corner of the house to gape at the lawn.
TJ realized how the yard could be a nine-year-old’s dream. The basement was grade level on this side of the house, with a patio off the recreational room. In front of the patio and overlooking the ocean was a half-acre lawn rimmed by natural trees and flower gardens.
“We could definitely play catch out here,” TJ said.